Sheriff’s Marine Unit keeping local waters safe

Sergeant Jim Knauss and his unit of four deputies have a mission: to make sure boaters have a good time, but do so safely.

“We’re out here every day, we’re out patrolling. We have at least two boats out and we’re looking for things that aren’t safe,” Knauss said in a recent story produced by King County TV.

The King County Sheriff’s Office Marine and Dive Unit patrols eight contract cities and the unincorporated parts of King County, including water around Vashon Island, and in front of Shoreline and Burien. They also patrol 250 miles of river.

“Generally we’re looking for the safety issues that will cause people harm if not enforced,” Deputy Charlie Akers said.

The Marine Unit does everything from enforce water safety to fishing cars out of the water. All five members of the unit are certified divers.

“We have a habit in our region of having cars end up in the water. Some of what we do is dive to recover cars,” Knauss said.

Over the past nine years, the Marine Unit patrol has focused on reducing fatalities caused by drowning.

“When I first came into this unit we had a high number of fatalities. With education and everything the state has done for the boater education card, we’ve brought the average number of fatalities down to around seven [per year].” Watch the KCTV video.